bundesliga.com analyses the pre-season form of all 18 Bundesliga clubs and sees which are ready for action and which either require a bit more time, or need to go back to the drawing board completely.
Here are the sides currently lagging behind and still with a lot of work to do before the opening weekend...
Coaching team Sami Hyypiä and Sascha Lewandowski are venturing into uncharted territory. Although they took charge of the club's last six games of last term - and successfully - now they have the added pressure of full-time contracts. The club have shown their ambition by rejecting lucrative bids for Andre Schürrle and Lars Bender. As a result Hyypiä has set his sights on qualifying for the UEFA Champions League, but there is still work to be done. A 3-1 defeat to Liverpool, a 2-1 reverse to Napoli and a 1-0 loss to KAA Gent showed they are not yet ready for the UEFA Europa League while FC Augsburg got the better of them in pre-season too. Apart from signing Philipp Wohlscheid, Leverkusen have pretty much kept their hands in their pockets this summer, despite losing Rene Adler, Eren Derdiyok and Michael Ballack. A pre-deadline signing could be just the ticket if Hyypiä's lofty ambitions are to be realised.
Felix Magath has been quiet in the transfer market, by his own standards, with just seven new arrivals. But will his new team gel? Defeats to Bayern Munich and Manchester City showed gulfs between the Wolves and the teams they want to be challenging at home and abroad. The loss of Patrick Helmes to injury for the first half of the season leaves his side even lighter in attack. Bas Dost and Ivica Olic were brought in to replace Mario Mandzukic, but neither have been particularly prolific in pre-season, aside from the Croatian's hat-trick in the DFB Cup last weekend. If Magath's Wolves are to emulate their title-winning heroics of 2008/09, they need Olic in that form in the Bundesliga each week while Diego, who was also on target last weekend, needs to prove he can take Magath's decisions with humility and work for the team.
Hannover have created club history by qualifying for Europe two seasons in a row, but can they make it a hat-trick of top-six finishes? And after reaching the quarter-finals of the UEFA Europa League last season, can they now go further? Their pre-season results have hardly been encouraging. Defeat to Manchester United is perhaps acceptable, but falling victim to Hertha BSC Berlin and Preußen Münster have shown chinks in The Reds' armour. Münster's victory over SV Werder Bremen in the DFB Cup put that loss into perspective while Hannover hit the ground running in the Cup with Jan Schlaudraff masterminding a 6-1 win over Nöttingen. The team has not been altered much with Szabolcs Huszti returning from Zenit St. Petersburg and Altin Lala joining Bayern Munich's reserve team, while the expectations will be high of Mame Diouf in his first full season in the Bundesliga.
Few would have predicted that Mainz's permanence in the top flight of German football would endure for three years, and perhaps their biggest test is about to begin. Thomas Tuchel has taken the plaudits for his young side's attractive football, but their boy band of Lewis Holtby, Andre Schürrle and Adam Szalai seems a distant memory, as a defeat to SV Sandhausen in pre-season hammered home. Draws with FC Metz, Austria Vienna and FC Sevilla may look good on paper, but the Spaniards are a shadow of the side which clinched the UEFA Cup in 2006 and 2007, as Hannover 96 demonstrated a year ago. Szalai's two goals in the DFB Cup last weekend provided some promise, though, and after over a year of injury agony, Mainz can only hope he is now fully recovered and back to his best if they are to stay up once again.
Dieter Hecking has dispelled the word relegation since arriving in Nuremberg, but results this pre-season hint at a return of the troubles which have frequently plagued Der Club down the years. It started well enough with a 4-2 win over Borussia Dortmund on Marek Mintal's testimonial, but a 1-0 defeat to Real Betis and only a 2-2 draw with Ingolstadt suggest that Hecking has his work cut out - once again. There is nothing new in Hecking having the challenge of rebuilding his side after losing key players, though, and a year after seeing Ilkay Gündogan defect to Borussia Dortmund, he now has to cope without Philipp Wollscheid and Albert Bunjaku. He has taken a gamble on Hiroshi Kiyotake, but defeat in the first round of the DFB Cup to fourth-division opponents TSV Havelse indicates he may not have got it right this time.
Thorsten Fink had been installed as favourite to become the first Bundesliga managerial casualty even before Hamburg were knocked out of the DFB Cup to Karlsruher SC. The odds on that happening have now shortened and all Fink can do is hope that the Cup defeat is an omen - Mirko Slomka was also destined for the chop after Hannover were dumped out of the Cup in the first round two years ago, but The Reds went on to play the most successful season in their history to qualify for the UEFA Europa League. For that to happen, Fink will be relying on new signings Rene Adler, Paul Scharner and Artem Rudnevs to deliver the goods for the Bundesliga's only permanent partner of 50 years.